• Open Access

Satellite observations of Schumann resonances in the Earth's ionosphere



[1] Using electric field measurements gathered on the C/NOFS satellite, we report, Schumann resonance signatures detected in space, well beyond the upper boundary of the resonant cavity formed by the earth's surface and the lower edge of the ionosphere. The resonances are routinely observed in the satellite ELF data during nighttime conditions within the altitude region of 400–850 km sampled by the satellite. They exhibit the distinctive frequency patterns predicted for Schumann resonances and are consistent with the corresponding frequency characteristics of ground-based observations of this phenomenon. The observations of Schumann resonances in space support a leaky cavity interpretation of the ionosphere and call for revisions of models of extremely low frequency wave propagation in the ionosphere. They suggest new remote sensing capabilities for investigating atmospheric electricity on Earth and other planets.